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Amazon's Move to Long Island City Sparks Condo Frenzy




Just before

            Amazon.com
             Inc.

      decided to put a headquarters in Long Island City, the retail giant's interest in the Queens neighborhood unleashed a condo gold rush.

Amazon's interest was made known scarcely a week ago, yet brokers say they are already selling units-sometimes sight-unseen -By text message. Others are renting vans and packing them full of clients eager to view multiple buildings, or holding group tours in Chinese.

Now, with Amazon's commitment to the New York City neighborhood, brokers are predicting the apartment market there will surge further. 1[ads1]9659004] "This is like a gift from the gods for the Long Island City condo market," said Patrick W. Smith, a stripping agent in the area.

Long Island City and Northern Virginia were selected to be the homes of Amazon's second and third headquarters, according to people familiar with the matter. Each of the regions could house some 25,000 employees. The decision was announced on Monday evening.

Up until last week, the Long Island City market had suffered from slowing sales and rising inventory. Nu, noen meglere siger det pludselige moodskifte minner dem om de heady dagene i New York Citys condo boom lige før boligmarkedet slår ned under 2008-finanskrisen. "This is the first time in my 20-year career that I have seen the market go from a buyer's market to a seller's market overnight, based on a rumor," Mr. Smith said.

During the first six days since Amazon's interest in Long Island City became public, searches on the listing site StreetEasy.com for residential property in the neighborhood surged 295% from the same period a week earlier, StreetEasy said.

Real estate broker Teresa Ali faced a frenzy at the sales office for the Gallery, a new brick and glass building. going up on Jackson Avenue. Though the building, which wraps around a central garden, will not open until spring, Ms. Ali told her team with almost 100 buyers on Saturday and Sunday. More than 60 other buyers were turned away after leaving their names.

Amazon's long search for a new headquarters location – dubbed HQ2 – might be better-named HQ squared. With 50,000 jobs and $ 5 billion in investment at stake, here's a look at the great lengths cities went to woo the tech giant, and why Amazon ultimately settled on two locations.
    

The same building logged 34 visits from potential buyers for the entire previous week, she added. "Multiple offers were on the table" after Sunday's open house, while four more offers came in overnight.

"It Was Bedlam," Ms. Ali, a sales manager at Halstead Property Development Marketing, said. This team ran simultaneous group tours in English and Mandarin over the weekend.

 'Buyers are hoping it will become the next Silicon Valley and want to be in on that,' one broker said of the sudden surge in interest in Long Island City .

'Buyers are hoping it will become the next Silicon Valley and want to be in on that,' one broker said of the sudden surge in interest in Long Island City.


Photo:
            

        Christopher Lee / Bloomberg News
          

Buyers are hoping

Speculative investors and buyers who are planning to live in the neighborhood are betting on the promise that an Amazon headquarters would bring new amenities and stature to a once-dilapidated industrial neighborhood, pushing prices in the future. Kayla Lee, a broker at Modern Spaces, who oversees sales at Corte, an eight-story condominium with an angular glass facade that went on the market in August, will be the next Silicon Valley. 19659005] The past week was the building's best ever, with deals on six of its 84 units and several more during negotiations, she said. There were 20 appointments last weekend, compared with four the week before.

Just before the Amazon decision, Ms. Lee said, prices were scheduled to go up.

"Clients I had not spoken to in seven or eight years started texting me," said Eric Benhaim, the president and founder of Modern Spaces. "I sold 20 apartments by text."

Where the Cities Stand

Amazon selected Arlington County's Crystal City and New York's Long Island City as locations for its second headquarters operations.

Range from min. two max. of values ​​for the 19 U.S. sites shortlisted

Transportation and housing

Transit ridership, as a percentage of workers

Business state tax climate, ranked

Fortune 500 company headquarters, by city

One-way commute time, average

] Monthly housing cost, average

Number of farmer markets, by city

College-educated population

Tech degrees from 2011-16

Range from min. two max. of values ​​for the 19 U.S. sites shortlisted

Transportation and housing

Transit ridership, as a percentage of workers

Business state tax climate, ranked

Fortune 500 company headquarters, by city

One-way commute time, average

] Monthly housing cost, average

Number of farmer markets, by city

College-educated population

Tech degrees from 2011-16

Range from min. two max. of values ​​for the 19 U.S. sites shortlisted

Transportation and housing

Transit ridership, as a percentage of workers

Business state tax climate, ranked

Fortune 500 company headquarters, by city

One-way commute time, average

] Monthly housing cost, average

Number of farmer markets, by city

College-educated population

Tech degrees from 2011-16

Range from min. two max. of values ​​for the 19 U.S. sites shortlisted

Business state tax climate, ranked

Fortune 500 company headquarters, by city

College-educated population

Tech degrees from 2011-16

Transportation and housing

Transit ridership, as a percentage of workers

One-way commute time, average

Monthly housing cost, average

Number of farmer markets, by city

He said his company's agents, who represent many new condo developers, were now

Brokers say there are about 350 new condominiums on the market in Long Island City and about 50 resale apartments. "Some of these resale units had lingered on the market for weeks without attracting any interest but are now in demand, too, said Mr. Smith.

On Friday, he found that weekend appointments at many condo sales offices were filled. Zo op zaterdag nam hij vijf klanten op een tour-on-foot en bij Uber-of open houses. And on Sunday, Mr. Smith rented two dark blue minivans with drivers, and he and an associate each red shotgun while showing properties to groups of five buyers.

Other clients with them along the way, he said, so by the end of the day they had chaperoned at least 15 clients.

"The showroom was jam-packed and only grew," Mr. Smith said, adding that other clients crowded into the dedicated conference room originally reserved for his group.

Mr. Smith, who lives in Long Island City, warned his buyers that the Amazon deal was not done and might fall through.

Still, he said, "The worst case for the Amazon buyers is that they own real estate in Long Island City-not a bad proposition, they tell me. "

Write to Josh Barbanel at josh.barbanel@wsj.com



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